Perry: 'Time for a little rebellion'
March 7th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
6 months ago

Perry: 'Time for a little rebellion'

National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) - Day two of the Conservative Political Action Conference – better known by its initials, CPAC – is underway at a major convention center at National Harbor, just south of the  nation's capital.

The conference is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and when there's no Republican in the White House, it's a must-attend cattle call for GOP presidential hopefuls looking to pass the conference's conservative litmus test.

One of those possible presidential contenders, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said it was "time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas,” while another potential White House candidate, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, gave what sounded like a presidential campaign stump speech.

Here are the latest developments:

Perry ignites audience at CPAC

By CNN's Ashley Killough

A fired-up Gov. Rick Perry, who’s considering another presidential bid, kicked off Friday morning with a rousing speech, declaring “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas.”

The longtime Texas governor reiterated his consistent message proclaiming “red state America” is better off than blue states because of conservative governors who push limited government and entitlement reform.

He named Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as examples of leaders making progress in their states because of conservative principles.

He highlighted Walker’s effort to curb bargaining rights and reform the pension system, bringing “red state principles” to Wisconsin, a state with large swaths of Democratic voters.

Noticeably absent from his list of top governors was another governor who prides himself in bringing Republican ideals to his blue state and who’s also considering a White House run: Chris Christie. The New Jersey leader on Thursday boasted his ability to embed conservative principles into his governing and attempt to reform the pension system.

Then again, it’s no secret that Perry and Christie havent been the best of friends.

Switching from the states to Washington, Perry blasted the policies of the Obama administration, including health care, foreign policy and the rising debt.

“I am here today to say we don’t have to accept recent history, we just need to change the presidency,” he said.

The folksy governor called on Washington to return to “the few things the Constitution establishes as the federal government’s role,” such as national defense.

“And what the heck: deliver our mail; preferably on time and on Saturdays,” he said, drawing laughter and applause.

On a roll, the governor continued making demands of the government, bringing the crowd to its feet as he closed out his remarks.

“Get out of the health care business! Get out of the education business! Stop hammering industry! Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again,” he cheered.

Perry hoping for 'a second chance' with voters

3:30pm ET

CPAC crowd stands for Rand

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Sen. Rand Paul stepped on stage Friday at CPAC-and into his element.

The Kentucky Republican, whose libertarian fight in the Senate is often met with a tepid response, spoke before an audience Friday that treated him like a rock star.

Wearing blue jeans, a blazer and a red tie, Paul opened up his speech with what could easily be a preamble to a White House campaign.

“Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty,” he said. “You may think I'm talking about electing Republicans. I'm talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

Paul hit on his usual touchstones, including a need to stand up for an individual’s right to trial by jury and to stand against the National Security Agency. The senator and potential 2016 presidential contender recently filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.

“If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said. “I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”

Paul also made repeated attacks against President Barack Obama, arguing that the current White House occupant’s “timid defense of liberty” sets dangerous precedents for “lawlessness.”

“He’s got a pen, he’s got a phone, he doesn’t care what the law is,” Paul said. “A tyranny will ensue, and we must stop this President.”

Paul was playing off of Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he pledged to make 2014 a “year of action"–with or without Congress–by threatening to use his pen and phone to issue executive orders among other authorities.

Standing with Rand

To say CPAC is full of Paul supporters would be an understatement. This is his crowd-well, a part of his crowd. Paul is eager to expand his base, and expand the GOP in general.

He’s been aggressively trying to broaden the party by talking about the need to include not only libertarians, but even Democrats and minority voters that don’t traditionally fall in the GOP column.

Paul supporters could be seen at all corners of the conference this week, easily spotted by their “I Stand With Rand” stickers and signs.

Quite fittingly, the first-term senator walked out on stage Friday to the lyrics of a famous 1990's Chumbawamba song: “I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down.”

The senator certainly made that message clear as he closed out his remarks, reminding the audience of the times he’s railed against opposition, even against those in his own party.

“When the President refused to rule out droning of American citizens, I took a stand. I filibustered,” he said, talking about his near 13-hour stand-off in the Senate last year when he questioned the legal use of drones on American citizens.

The 2013 episode further catapulted him into political fame, despite already having a famous father-Ron Paul, three time presidential candidate and a longtime congressman from Texas.

“When I discovered that the NSA spied on us…I took a stand,” he said. “I sued the President.”

3:00pm ET

Santorum: GOP doesn't need a moderate

By: CNN’s Dana Davidsen

Rick Santorum said the Republican Party needs to elect an unapologetic conservative, not a moderate candidate, in 2016.

“We’re told that we have to put aside what we believe is in the best interest of the country so a Republican candidate can win,” the former senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 GOP presidential candidate said Friday at CPAC.

Winning the White House, he said, “…may be a win for the Republican candidate but it will be a devastating loss for America.

Santorum's comments stand in contrast to those of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, considered a more moderate Republican whose pragmatism left him snubbed from the conservative gathering last year.

“We don't get to govern if we don't win," Christie said addressing the conference on Thursday.

“It's not only bad when we don't get to govern, 'cause we don't get to mold and change our society. What's worse is they do.  And they're doing it to us right now. So please, let us come out here resolved to not only stand for our principles, but let's come out of this conference resolved to win elections again," Christie added.

Both Christie and Santorum are considering bids for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Their divide over the best path forward for the GOP highlights the divide within the party – a topic focused on heavily at the conference, which is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists.

Invoking popularity and message of Pope Francis, Santorum said Republicans lost in 2012 because they failed to connect with “working class” America, adding that the party needs stop using the terms that divide American, like “middle class,” used by the “other side.”

The Republican Party should not “adopt a class-envy, leftist language that divides American among themselves,” he said.

Addressing the audience on the second day of the conservative gathering, after a series of high-profile Republicans used the platform to criticize President Barack Obama on all fronts, Santorum said the right should instead let the failings of the Democratic Party speak for itself.

“I understand why people come out on this stage and they bang away at President Obama. I know, it’s fun, I get it. It’s also easy, getting easier, I might add,” he said. “But that isn’t going to win people over who are sitting at home and hurting. They don’t feel better, we feel better.”

Santorum, a favorite among many social and fiscal conservatives, mounted a formidable primary challenge to Mitt Romney in 2012, battling the eventual Republican presidential nominee deep into the primary calendar.

Billionaire Foster Friess introduced Santorum at the conference. The conservative businessman was a major supporter of Santorum’s 2012 bid, dumping funds into the a super PAC backing the conservative candidate, which helped Santorum battle against the much better funded Romney.

Adding fuel to speculation that Santorum might launch another presidential bid, he plans to head to New Hampshire next week and has already made trips to Iowa and South Carolina. The three states kick of the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

11:30am ET

Mike Huckabee weighs in on Hillary Clinton

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton never faced off in the 2008 presidential general election, but they both went far in their respective party's primary. And they could find themselves on the campaign trail again in 2016, as neither have ruled out a second presidential bid.

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas (a position Clinton’s husband once held), said his shared roots with Hillary Clinton in the southern state could give him an advantage, arguing he knows “her better than anyone else.”

As the 2016 presidential calendar gets closer, Huckabee told reporters after his CPAC speech that she’s certainly a relevant figure in politics.

“If the Democrats want to continue to say that she is by far and away the frontrunner and she is the likely nominee, (then) she is the standard bearer for Democratic messaging,” he said.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and another potential presidential contender, has repeatedly said former President Bill Clinton’s past as a “sexual predator” could be a liability for Democrats as they attempt to paint themselves as the pro-women party.

But Huckabee said he’s not as interested in bringing personal issues to the table.

“Bill Clinton is not going to be on the ballot in 2016 or 2014. It’s very possible that his wife will,” he said. “What she said, what she did, how she has served both as a senator and secretary of state, I think that’s all fair play. I personally don’t like to see us get into personal issues of candidates, because once you go down that road, it’s hard for that person to come back that.”

The former governor argued a bigger liability for Hillary Clinton in 2016 will be the Benghazi, Libya attack at U.S. diplomatic post in September 2012 that left four Americans killed, including the U.S. ambassador, while she was secretary of state.

“We have to have a rational explanation as to why we didn’t scramble some type of effort to go in and save and rescue them,” he said. “I think that’s problematic, and I think a lot of Americans will care about that….An attack upon an ambassador or an embassy or a consulate is really an attack upon Americans.”

In his speech Friday, Huckabee hit on recurring themes heard at the conference this week, blasting the Obama administration on a range of issues, from government overreach to weak foreign policy.

But Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, affirmed his religious views and warned of a coming doom for the country if it doesn’t reclaim its Christian foundation.

“I know there’s a God, and I know this nation would not exist had he not been the midwife of its birth,” he said. “If this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us.”

7:30am ET

Rick Perry's good advice

By CNN's Paul Steinhauser

Longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the first speaker at CPAC Friday.

Perry, who made a failed bid for the GOP nomination in 2012, is not running again this year for re-election as governor, but he's considering another bid for the White House in 2016. But if he runs again, he says he's learned from his mistakes.

Perry announced his bid in August 2011, to much fanfare, and instantly zoomed to the top of the national polls in the race for the Republican nomination. But thanks to many well publicized gaffes, it all came crashing down for Perry, who dropped out of the race in January 2012.

Thursday, when asked by CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper what lessons he learned from his 2012 campaign, Perry said "I won't have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement."

"We go through humbling events in our lives. And that one certainly was. Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But that's not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure. How do you pick yourself up and go forward. Certainly it's part of what drives me to finish up my 11 months as a governor of Texas on high notes, economically for our  state which we're doing. And it is an option for me. And it's one that sometime in 2015, I'll make the decision whether or not that is the avenue that i want to pursue," Perry said on "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

6:00am ET

Huckabee to talk to reporters

By CNN's Paul Steinhauser

How serious is Mike Huckabee when it comes to launching a second bid for the Republican presidential nomination?

We may get some clues Friday morning, when Huckabee takes questions from reporters following his speech to CPAC. A Republican source close to the former Arkansas governor told CNN that Huckabee would hold a media availability right after his address.

Huckabee ran for the White House in 2008, winning the Iowa caucuses and then capturing a bunch of southern contests, before eventually dropping out when Sen. John McCain of Arizona became the all but certain GOP nominee.

Huckabee, who hosts a weekend program on the Fox News Channel, recently told his network that "I would say maybe at this point it is 50-50. I don't know. I don't know that I can put a percentage on it," when asked about his chances of running for president again.

The former Arkansas governor said he would make a final decision after next year's midterm elections.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • CPAC • Mike Huckabee • Rick Perry
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. rob mcdaniel

    name the countries that have more free market governments and better standard of living and quality of life than the USA. There are several countries with more socialist governments that have higher standards of living and quality of life.

    March 7, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "So in what way does Perry mean "better off?"

    Living in ignorance and proud of it. They'd have to be to support candidates such as Perry, Cruz, Rand Paul, Huckabee (and so on and so forth). Apparently being humiliated by the likes of these candidates is a worthy ambition in GOPerville.

    March 7, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Dorothy

    Small government? If you think the GOP is in favor of small government, you must be a white, straight man. Rights? Democracy? Maybe gun rights, but they are making it harder and harder to vote.

    March 7, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Expat American

    The likelihood of a Conservative winning the Presidency is highly unlikely at this point. A couple obvious reasons are that it's 2014, and non-Whites are allowed to vote, and Liberal and Moderate women are not willing to sign over their reproductive rights to the Big Tent GOP.

    Nevertheless, I hope Rick Perry not only runs for President but wins the Republican nomination.

    That would pretty much guarantee a Conservative will never sit in the White House, ever.

    March 7, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Patrick

    Yes this is just what we need..and the world..a revolution so the USA can be run by well armed, pot bellied un educated rednecks who pass laws forcing everyone to wave the american flag tiwice daily. What a paradise.

    March 7, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Patrick

    oops I forgot extended hunting season on abortion doctors with prizes for the highest number killed. God bless america.

    March 7, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Steve

    If ever there was an award for Dumbest governor or Dumbest Texan Rick Perry would get it hands down. His is so dumb that when someone gave him a penny for his thoughts he gave them change!

    March 7, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Brickell Princess

    You can always count on Republicans to make bigger fools of themselves. They really have absolutely nothing – and I mean nothing – to offer the American people, the nation, and the world.

    What do Republicans do other than lie, steal, cheat, and abuse the American people?!?

    March 7, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Ooooooh, Gov. Perry, please rebel. Democrats will be in you debt forever, specially women, ethinc minorities, gays and other assorted GOP targets. As a Hispanic woman all I can say is" Forge ahead and thank you".

    March 7, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "What kind of leader will forget the list of agencies he wants to do away with

    That's what happens when nihilists pretend to have beliefs.

    March 7, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Patrick

    and lest we forget the religous laws these lunaetics would impelemnet forcing everyone in the USA to be a born again christian lunatic complete with lynch mobs beating catholics. YEAB! The founding fathers would be proud of this revolution! they loved intolerance and stupidity!

    March 7, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Claudia Vela

    Rick Perry is a glorified door-to-door salesman, which may benefit Texas. It's going to need more vacuum cleaners if any more abortion clinics are closed.

    March 7, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm sure someone else has already said it....
    It is time for you all to secede.
    We can start with Texas...

    March 7, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. DH

    You libs are so out of touch with what this country was built on and why it was great. I love how you can't be objective about your own candadite Obama about anything. Gas prices through the roof? Economy NOT getting better, but worse everyday? Ruining healthcare for families by canceling their policies or hitting them with a 300%-400% percent increase in costs? Obama using the IRS to silence the voices of his political enemies? Obama taking lavish vacations on our dime as taxpayers almost every month? I could go on and on. You guys don't say anything and your media doesn't report it.

    I voted for Bush but I didn't agree with many of the things he did and I made it known as well as the rest of the Republicans and Libertarians. If you are so willfully blind to all the lying and hypocrisy that is going on in this administration then not only are you dumb (because he is hurting you too), you are a disgrace as a people.

    March 7, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. LessDemLessRepub

    I love reading people making comments that the Republicans are stupid, lie, corrupt, etc. as if the other party is all in for the American people.

    March 7, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Anonymouse

    Red-State Rednecks are a joke

    March 7, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. John Boy

    Every single one of those folks could not name a poor person by name if they tried. Thee personally just dont know of one who is poor – because if they did, they would have compassion towards them and those like them. They have no idea that the poor is growing. They have no compassion or love for humankind. As these governors continue, they will all expierence increases in violent crime as more and more poor become more and more desperate. The poor will say "you can take everything but my ability to take it back...."

    March 7, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    And the Hate Meter just hit 99 !!

    March 7, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Michael M

    Perhaps more people would join the GOP and their fiscal ideas if they were to get on board with 2014 social issues... The GOP has to stop telling people who they can and can not marry and also stop telling women what they can and can not do with their own bodies... I have no problem with the direction the GOP wants to take this country fiscally but their social views are backwards... I honestly could see myself on GOP side if it wasn't for those social issues.

    March 7, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Texas Anne

    As far as I'm concerned, the best thing Rick Perry could say would be "I am resigning immediately & moving to Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan (you pick)". The man is a narcissistic control freak airhead. How his poor wife stands him is beyond me (but then she's rarely let out in public, so....). All those Texas jobs he like to brag about creating– check out the salary level of most of those jobs. Most were minimum wage. And he didn't "create" them. He got lucky because Texas is an energy rich, military rich, no income tax state. The man is rude, arrogant, not too bright, and panders to the moneyed Tea Party & FAR right wing. He has zero respect for women, minorities, or anyone who doesn't agree with him. I would say the sooner he is gone the better– but I'm afraid his brain dead clone Greg Abbott will be right behind him. I'm a sixth generation Texan, and I feel like an outsider in this state anymore. If you don't lap up the "conservative" kool-aid, you're treated like a pariah. News flash... I'm as much a god, country, & motherhood patriot as any of you, but I also believe in equality & fairness & common sense– none of which Rick Perry believes in. Sad sad state of affairs anymore.

    March 7, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Just because you wear glasses doesn't mean you're smart Rick. Look at Palin.

    March 7, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. DRAKE MALLARD

    The Commonwealth Fund ranks the Texas healthcare system the third worst in the nation. Only Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi are worse. The Fund’s new report, “Healthcare in Two Americas,” has an exhaustive collection of data that covers many measures of care. You can see how each state ranks in four areas: child health system, state health system, local area systems and low-income services. Texas is in the bottom quartile for all but one of those analyses. It is the third quartile for low-income population

    Women now find it harder to get preventive healthcare after Texas successfully defunded Planned Parenthood.

    And, of course, there will be no Medicaid expansion in Texas. In 2012, Gov. Rick Perry said he would not expand Medicaid and in May of this year, the state legislature agreed. Voting against a Medicaid expansion meant that Texas hospitals would lose about $7 billion, on top of the $700 million a year reduction in Medicaid payments from state budget shortfalls and sequestration cuts. And, 1.5 million poor people in Texas still won’t have healthcare.

    This August Perry changed his mind about federal help with healthcare for his citizens. He now wants $100 million for the Community First Choice program that improves the quality of services available to the disabled and elderly in their homes or communities.”

    texas created about 262,000 jobs between the summer of 2009 and now that's out of 524,000 jobs nationwide.

    But the Bureau of Labor Statistics says many of those jobs were for the minimum wage - minimum wage jobs have more than doubled in Texas over the last four years. And also, Texas is creating many jobs in part because the population is growing so fast, up more than 4 million since Rick Perry took office. That means more people buying goods and services and more jobs.

    Some of those people boosting the Texas economy come illegally across the border. According to the Texas Association of Business, illegal immigrant labor pumps in about $17 billion a year which in turn also creates more jobs. Another job creating factor is federal stimulus money, either going straight into state and local construction projects, or as it did in the last two years, to cover 97 percent of the state's budget deficit.

    he's saying he balanced the state budget while keeping taxes low, without dipping into emergency money. However, he did it by taking big money from Washington. Back in June of 2009, when Governor Perry was signing the state's 2010-2011 budget, Texas was $6.6 billion in the red.

    It also had a rainy day fund to cover that shortfall. But instead of using the rainy fund, Texas lawmakers in the Perry administration filled the gap with $6.4 billion of federal stimulus money.earlier that year, he even posted a blog headlined "help us turn the tide in Washington and stop these irresponsible bailouts." That post, by the way, went up the same day he requested the federal money.

    Here answer the letter he wrote to President Obama, quote, "Please allow this letter to certify we will accept the funds in H.R.1, the stimulus, and use them to promote economic growth and create jobs in a fiscally responsible manner that is in the interest of the Texas taxpayers."And in that letter, the governor did say he opposed the stimulus, but he took the money. Yet, months later and right up to this day, he continues to speak out against federal money and the state officials who take it.

    Rick Perry= Bush 3.0

    March 7, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. glauber

    These teabag types just don't know when to give it up, do they?

    March 7, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. DRAKE MALLARD

    “Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big bold visionary stuff…We’re gonna have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some alternate voice out there that can put forward new ideas.”
    ~Jon Huntsman,

    The fat cats in DC need to cut their OWN salaries, benefits and
    pensions while they are at it. I know, I won’t be holding my breath for
    that one!!. (They vote on their own raises, healthcare, and pension
    plans, and we are left with the bill)

    The Tea Party and other extremists are destroying the GOP, and
    permanently stripping it of any credibility in the minds of thinking
    people. In 10 years time, provided they don't get us all killed, we'll
    be wondering how anyone could ever buy such a bill of spoiled goods.

    .How come politicians never join the military
    when they are sending other people children to war? To the politicians
    War is good for business invest your self and own your own children,wife husband! But
    certainly big business gets in there because wars are very profitable to
    certain big businesses.

    March 7, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. A traveler

    In ten years there will be nobody willing to stake their claim in CPAC. These "types" are the political equivalent of albatross and almost as much brains as those poor birds.

    March 7, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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